The Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Dep. CEO) of Produce Buying Company (PBC) Mr. Alfred Ofori Annye believe that with the inaugurations of the Board of Trustees for the Ghana Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme to pave the way for the scheme to take off, the big dreams of Farmers, especially those in the Cocoa sector is finalized.
Mr. Ofori Annye who is a Board Member for the Scheme representing The Licensed Cocoa Buyers of Ghana(LICOBAG) spoke to Sunyani based Radio Station, Space FM in an interview after the inaugurations.
He said, just like Doctors, Nurses, teachers and other workers who enjoyed retirement benefit, the government want the farmers to enjoy a good life after they could no longer work on their farms.
He described the introduction of the Scheme as a laudable idea that would secure the financial future of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer.
Mr. Ofori Annye expressed optimism that more people especially youth will start nurture interest in cocoa farming following the 8nauguration of the Scheme Board.
The 11-member Board which is chaired by an experienced actuary, Daniel Aidoo Mensah, has members including David Appiah Ofori, also an actuary; Samuel Danquah Arkhurst, economist; Peter Osei-Amoako, chartered accountant; and Vincent Okyere Akomeah, economist and the Managing Director of Cocoa Marketing Company.
Others are Alfred Ofori Annye, operations executive; Charles Gyamfi, a cocoa farmer; Leticia A. Yankey, cocoa farmer; Joyce Dapaah, cocoa farmer; Charles Korankye Donkor, a cocoa farmer; and a yet to be named nominee by the Ministry of Employment and Labour relations.
The Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme was formulated under the Ghana Cocoa Board Law (PNDC Law 81) in 1984 as a welfare intervention to ensure decent pensions for farmers after retiring from active cocoa farming.
Its implementation never found expression for 37years, until President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched it on 1st December 2020.
Mr. Ofori Annye reiterated that the overall objective is to build more hope in the businesses of the farmer and also give a meaningful future to both the old and the young in the farming sector.
The scheme’s sponsor, Cocobod, in August this year undertook a pilot registration exercise at New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region where some 2800 volunteer cocoa farmers were successfully captured under the scheme.
For now, only a person registered as a cocoa farmer with a Cocoa Card issued by Cocobod through the Cocoa Management System is eligible for enrolment onto the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme.
Registered farmers are required to make a mandatory contribution of 5% of their produce sold, which will be deducted at the point of sale, while Cocobod pays a minimum of top-up of 1% on behalf of the farmer.
25% of the farmer’s total contributions will be credited to a Personal Savings Account and the 75% remaining credited to the Retirement Account.
According to Cocobod, there is no age limit for enrolling on the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme. However, a contributor may be eligible to access pensions after contributing for 5years.
Story By: Seth Opoku Agyemang, Space FM Sunyani